Wednesday, 23 April 2014

1st Survival Summer Course - Medical Emergencies - Lifesaving steps when Bleeding - Part 1

Whoa! It has been quite a long time since I last posted on this course that has been dragging since last Summer. This is the real Summer Course, indeed! Last February I wrote about breathing problems, this time we have to focus on something a little more fatalistic - lifesaving steps when bleeding -, either you do them right or you leak!!

What happens when you're facing a severe bleeding?

The loss of 1 liter of blood produces mild symptoms of shock, 2 liters a severe state that put's you in extreme danger, whereas 3 liters usually ends up in death.

The strategy always starts by the same common sense practice, which sounds easy but when one's severely bleeding might be really tough to handle. Avoid worsening shock by interpreting the 1939 slogan from the British government that has been used for decades...


Like the Swahili phrase says, no worries. If you act cool you'll survive it. Just look for the cause of the injury. In severe bleeding a person can die in a matter of minutes if there is no fluids replacement. Assess what is the area of major bleeding:

Arterial (issues bright red blood in pulses corresponding to the rhythm of the heartbeat) - arterial bleeding is the most significant bleeding injury for the blood in the arteries is in very high pressure, therefore big volumes of blood can be lost in a short period.

Venous (a steady flow of dark red/maroon blood) - returning to the heart through blood vessels. Can be usually controlled more easily than arterial bleeding.

Capillary (low volumes of blood from the capillaries) are very easy to control.

What to do for controlling external bleeding?

Direct pressure, Indirect pressure (pressure points), elevation, digital ligation and tourniquet.

Direct Pressure is very effective. Apply pressure over the wound strongly enough to stop the bleeding but also for a long period of time to allow thrombocytes to seal off the damaged surface. If bleeding is still active after half an hour than a pressure dressing is the next step (watch the video for instructions). Apply this dressing in a tight fashion, but avoid impairing circulation to the rest of the affected area. It is very important that after applying the dressing you do not remove it, even when the dressing becomes blood soaked. Leave it on for 1-2 days after which a new and smaller one will do a better job. In the long-term survival, make fresh, daily dressing changes and inspect for signs of infection.

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